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Jackson Harris

Jackson is passionate about his fellow human beings. At his high school, Jackson initiated an intensive diversity awareness program to break down barriers and build up relationships between his peers. He also loves politics, music, theatre, and the great outdoors. During the summer months, he works for a rafting company and frequently gets lost on trail runs by the river. Jackson's goals for the year are to learn French and Wolof, to find a new family, and to see the world from a different perspective. His favorite quote:"You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should." --Max Ehrmann, "Desiderata"


If We’re Being Honest

February 27, 2016

The thing about Pulaar culture, is that it tends to be honest. Often brutally honest. This honesty reveals itself when you least expect it. For instance: you’re midway through a peaceful morning. You’re in the garden minding your own business, tending to the compost pile, when suddenly, honesty strikes the women gathering around the well...

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Nene Penda

February 12, 2016

If you’ve ever climbed a mountain in foam flip flops, a dress, with a baby on your back, and a sack of corn balanced on your head, you probably haven’t made it look as easy as my host mom made it look. I was trailing behind in my fancy hiking sandals just trying to keep...

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Becoming an adult is probably the dumbest thing you could ever do.

December 23, 2015

Written on December 23, 2015 On Blossoming into a Beautiful Young Man   It’s pretty fitting that my birthday gift was The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes, 250 pages that whisked me back to childhood evenings spent leaning over Calvin and his furry best friend at the dining room table, staining the pages with spaghetti sauce....

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Abdul Godri

November 1, 2015

Written on 31 October On Finding A New Home Dear map-makers of the world, I beg you to reconsider. Sincerely, Abdul Godri Ba   Let me explain.   Abdul Godri lives in Pelel Kendessa, a sprawling village nestled in the mountains that separate Senegal from Guinea. Godri (as his family and friends call him) is...

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The Talibe

October 1, 2015

On Understanding My Purpose in Senegal Written on September 28 Hold out one of your hands. Spread your fingers apart. Collapse your thumb, ring finger, and pinkie. What do you see? If you did it correctly, you might be thinking of long-hair, San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury, or The Beatles. Let’s try again. Hold out one...

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September 6, 2015

Written on September 6, 2015. On My First Week in Senegal Every night, when the clock strikes nine, I creep to the metal door of my compound, unbolt the lock, and stick my head into the dark alley. I scan my surroundings. To my left, a stray cat hisses. To my right, I see a...

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August 27, 2015

Written from 24-27 August 2015 On Curiosity before Judgement Looking back at my summer, I remember numerous conversations that seemed to follow the exact same script: JACKSON walking down the street, enter FRIEND/FAMILY/FAMILY FRIEND/ETC. FRIEND: “So, when do you leave for school?” JACKSON: “Actually, I’m taking a bridge year before college.”  FRIEND: With concern. “A...

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